§ Mr. Beith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he is considering to withdraw the facilities for payment of pensions and social benefits from post offices and sub post offices; what examination he has made of the social consequences of such a change; and what discussions he has had with the Post Office about the scheme.
§ Mr. Prentice
A small team of officials in consultation with Sir Derek Rayner have been examining the arrangements for paying social security benefits including the frequency of payment and whether beneficiaries should be able to have payment direct into bank accounts if they wish. Any ideas for change598W emerging from this study will need careful consideration and consultation. My right hon. Friend will announce our conclusions on the study as soon as possible. The Government have no plans for withdrawing payments facilities from Crown post offices or sub post offices.